We Can Feed the Poultry to Feed the World

GLOBAL - "We need science to improve poultry productivity so that the growing demand for animal protein can be met in 2050 and beyond," said Peel Holroyd in his introduction to the latest study for the Temperton Fellowship for Poultry Research. Jackie Linden reports on the presentation in London this week.
calendar icon 11 June 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

Concerns about feeding the global human population are not new but, according to one of the leading lights of the UK feed industry, there are good reasons for optimism that poultry meat and eggs will play a leading role in the solution to the problem of meeting the growing demand for animal proteins.

Speaking at the presentation of his report for the Temperton Fellowship in London this week, Nick Major (pictured) said that with technical efficiency throughout the supply chain, the growing demand for poultry products can be met as the human population inches up towards nine billion in 2050.

Corporate Affairs Director for ForFarmers B.V. in the UK - a leading international feed company that includes BOCM Pauls in the UK - Mr Major outlined how increases in the human population, wealth and urbanisation are the key drivers behind the growing demand for animal proteins.

Projections indicate that by 2050, a per-capita energy consumption of 3,000 calories in achievable, he said. This is the current level in developed countries.

Focusing on poultry products, demand for poultry meat will double by that time and for eggs, the increase required is 64 per cent, according to Mr Major.

Looking at the UK's key feed ingredients of wheat and soybeans, he showed that projections for feed requirements for this level of production indicate adequate supplies of feed ingredients to support that level of poultry output.

Mr Major stressed that these increases will come from improved production efficiency throughout the supply chain rather than any significant expansion in the area of arable land.

Highlighting the improvements made in poultry genetics, feeding and management over the last 50 years or so, he said that the output targets can be met by the poultry industry.

In closing, he stressed the need for technical efficiency throughout the poultry supply chain to meet these goals.

Responding to questions following his presentation, Mr Major mentioned that the range of tools in the nutritionist's 'toolbox' includes:

  • feed enzymes (already widely used but there is still further potential)
  • making better use of food wastes, co-products and new feed ingredients, including biofuel by-products, insect protein, processed animal protein (PAP; meat and bone meal) as well as algae and yeasts.

Finally, Mr Major told ThePoultrySite that, whilst not referring to it specifically in his presentation, he considers genetically modified (GM) feed ingredients to be among the technical solutions needed to meet growing demand for animal proteins.

Still an issue in western Europe right now, he added, there is a strong need for this new technology, not least as non-GM soybeans become ever harder to source, for example.

During his presentation, Mr Major had mentioned that the main soybean producing and exporting areas in Latin America have been identified as among those more likely to suffer adverse effects of climate change in the years ahead. This would increase the pressure to develop more drought-resistant feed crops.

Mr Major's report was the 22nd in the series of Temperton Fellowship. The Fellowship was established to commemorate the contribution of Dr Harold Temperton, Director of the National Institute of Poultry Husbandry at Harper Adams Agricultural College – now Harper Adams University – from 1951 to 1974. It is financed by the accrued interest from the Temperton Trust investments deriving from contributions, donations and sales of the book, 'The History of the National Institute of Poultry Husbandry' by M.E. Telford, P.H. Holroyd and R.G Wells published by the College in 1986. Chairman of the Temperton Fellowship is Peel Holroyd.

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